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Monday, March 12, 2012

Caldo de Mariscos (Mexican Seafood Soup)

Caldo de Mariscos (Mexican Seafood Soup)
A few weeks ago, I was given the chance to try all five varieties of South Africa's number one cooking sauce, Veri Peri.  Veri Peri is made wtih African Bird's Eye Chiles and is gluten free, dairy free and low carb.   A staple for a long time in many homes across South Africa, it can be used as a marinade, ingredient, or condiment.  It comes in five varieties that include Mild, Garlic, Lemon Herb, Hot, and Veri Hot.  So.  We love our hot sauces in this house be it on eggs, popcorn, chicken, or my I made it my mission to actually incorporate it into a recipe (as well as using it as a condiment).

But first, speaking of condiments, my resident "shot a day" hot saucer and I sat down to try each one.  The 'mild', 'lemon herb', and 'garlic' all have the same heat level - pleasantly warm.  The lemon herb would be fantastic with fish or chicken or perhaps in a vinaigrette or dressing to add a little kick.  The 'hot' is just that - hot, yet not overwhelming and still has good flavor.  Finishing up with 'veri hot'- it definitely got an involuntary cough out of me - bird's eyes have fire!  LT professes that it isn't all that hot, but I think it is.  But it's still good, it doesn't blow out your taste buds.  I actually think I enjoy all of the Veri Peri's more as an ingredient or marinade than as a condiment.  They have different layers of flavor that add a unique flavor profile from the addition of mustard powder, oregano, and garlic.  I do prefer my condiment hot sauces to be a bit simpler (as in chiles + vinegar).  But I definitely enjoyed each variety.
Caldo de Mariscos (Mexican Seafood Soup)
And...surprise, favorite variety was the 'garlic'! I knew I wanted to work it into a recipe. And soup was definitely the way to go. Using my preferred method of making a rich, flavorful broth complimented by tasty bites of seafood and plenty of goodies as garnish, Veri Peri fit right in. The Garlic Veri Peri accented the whole garlic well and the addition of Veri Hot upped the heat level enough to warm your whole body and soul, spoonful after delicious spoonful.

Caldo de Mariscos (Seafood Soup)
Chunks of tender fish and seafood swimming in a flavor broth.
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by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Keywords: blender simmer soup/stew shrimp mussels fish American Mexican

Ingredients (serves 6)
    for the salsa base:
    • 1 tablesp;oon olive oil
    • 1 small onion, rough chop
    • 6 cloves garlic, peel & smash
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup Garlic Veri Peri Sauce (or your favorite garlicky hot sauce)
    • 1 tablespoon Veri Hot Veri Peri Sauce (or your favorite HOT hot sauce)
    for the soup:
    • olive oil
    • 6 cups fish stock, vegetable stock or broth, or Simple Garlic Broth
    • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
    • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed & debearded
    • 12 ounces firm white fleshed fish, cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 4 ounces shrimp, shelled & deveined
    • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • shallot or onion, small dice
    • cilantro, roughly chopped
    • fried tortilla strips
    • lime wedges
    • dried oregano
    • extra Veri Peri sauce
    make salsa base
    Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add onion and garlic and sauté until they start to turn golden in spots, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to the jar of a blender and add the tomatoes with their juices and both of the Veri Peri sauces. Blend until smooth.

    finish the soup
    Check the bottom of the pot and add a bit more oil to make just a thin film at the bottom of the pot (if needed) and turn heat to medium-high. When hot, carefully pour in the contents of the blender jar and cook, stirring frequently for ~7 minutes. Add stock, potatoes, and oregano sprigs. Bring to a boil, them reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just tender, ~15 minutes.

    Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt (if needed) and a few good grinds of pepper. Raise heat back to medium-high and add mussels, fish, shrimp, and corn. Boil until mussels have opened and fish and shrimp are cooked through, ~4 minutes. Discard any mussels that did not open.

    to serve
    Ladle into bowls and sprinkle in a few shallots/onions, a bit of chopped cilantro, and some tortilla strips. Squeeze in a lime wedge or two. Crumble some dried oregano in your fingertips and sprinkle it over everything. Add a little more Veri Peri sauce, if you like. Enjoy!
    Caldo de Mariscos (Mexican Seafood Soup)
    Thanks to Veri Peri Sauce for sending me four delicious sauces to experiment with!
    Veri Peri Sauces